The Venetian archipelago of Murano is famous for its glass-blowers: there are over seventy glass-blowing workshops, big and small, on Murano, and over a hundred stores and boutiques that sell glassware made here.
In the Middle Ages, to preserve secrets of the trade and protect Venice from fires (glass-blowers traditionally worked with open flame), the Venetians relocated their glaziers to Murano. This is how an island of closed workshops came to be, where privileged craftsmen created light decorations, glasses, cups of different colours and tones. After the fall of Byzantium the Murano glaziers came up with a recipe of an alloy of glass and paint - smalt - from which many famous mosaics have been created since.
Nowadays the island has changed: there are no more secretive trade unions, and artists from all over the world work openly, gather experience and refine their skill, create collections for modern museums.
You can get to Murano from Venice by vaporetto only in 10 minutes, and after exploring its sights (the cathedral Santa Maria e San Donato, the church San Pietro Martire) head to the neighbouring island Burano. Or you might as well stay till evening, visit the Museum of Glass (Museo del Vetro), shop for souvenirs and enjoy the sunset over the Venetian Lagoon.